Jeremy Corbyn plans to give all local authorities the right to take bus services into public ownership if Labour wins the General Election.
The Labour leader told bosses on Monday of his latest pledge to wrest back some control from businesses, following his plan to create a nationalised broadband service.
Telling the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) it is “nonsense” to call him anti-business, Mr Corbyn made the pitch that Labour is the party to deliver the investment and Brexit deal that bosses desire.
He told the organisation’s annual conference in London that he plans to give councils the power to undo some of Margaret Thatcher’s privatisation of the bus network in the 1980s.
Mr Corbyn said Labour will be “empowering local authorities to develop bus services where they don’t exist” by extending powers to bring routes into public ownership or franchise “to all”.
So far, only metro mayors have the power to re-regulate buses under the Bus Services Act 2017.
“Bus access is something that’s very, very important to all of your workforce,” he said.
“And, of course, to communities as a whole, and if we want to develop suburban and rural areas economically then there has to be a good quality public transport system for them,” he said.
While Labour’s official manifesto launch is not until Thursday, it is understood that bus pledges could also include a policy to fund free bus travel for all under-25s.
Mr Corbyn’s speech was in stark contrast to the previous speaker – Prime Minister Boris Johnson – who pledged to postpone further corporation tax cuts in a bid to divert £6 billion to the “priorities of the British people”.